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Scaling Culture in Fast-Growing Companies

I published this article for Harvard Business Review on June 11, 2019.

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Over the past few years, there has been a marked increase in hypergrowth companies across the globe. First coined by Alexander V. Izosimov in the Harvard Business Review in 2008, “hypergrowth” refers to the steep part of the S-curve, where industries and firms grow at an explosive pace. Businesses rapidly expand, company valuation skyrockets, and the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) hits 40%+. Human capital also grows dramatically, as employee count steeply rises to support business growth.

This sets hypergrowth companies apart from other firms, which have slower and more stable growth rates. Since they are scaling rapidly, hypergrowth firms need to quickly ensure that they have the right people and systems in place to withstand the speed at which they are growing. If they don’t, the organization can quickly fall apart.

While hypergrowth companies face many obstacles, research shows that talent is their primary growth challenge. And one of their biggest talent priorities is how to scale and maintain culture. Culture, or the underlying beliefs and values that shape an organization, can indeed be difficult to manage when a company scales from 10 to 1,000 employees. But it is possible...

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